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Posters and Election Propaganda

A blog dedicated to the examination of communications in election campaigns, with a focus on posters

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Posted by Steven Seidman at 7:39AM   |  1 comment
David Garcia, "Change" (2012)


Design for Obama
—a Web site started in 2008 to promote Barack Obama's campaign for the U.S. presidency—is up again. 

The site was created "as a dorm-room experiment to create a space for artists to function as artists in the political process and help elect Barack Obama," according to the creators.

Many of the 2008 posters are included in a book, Design for Obama: Posters for Change: A Grassroots Anthology," written by Steven Heller, and edited by Aaron Perry-Zucker and Spike Lee.

Dozens of high-resolution posters (one of which can be seen to the right) have been contributed, to be printed and displayed at rallies and anywhere that people want to show support for Obama. Gallery shows will follow.


Posted by Steven Seidman at 3:00PM   |  Add a comment
"Cuomoween 2" Flyer/Poster (2010)

Carl Paladino, the Buffalo real estate and development millionaire, who won the New York State Republican gubernatorial primary in September by a landslide and lost by twenty-seven percentage points to his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, in November ran an unusually negative campaign. Typical were the flyer/posters, which one could download from Paladino's Web site. All told, there were twenty-four designs from his primary and general election campaigns, which included the following (most attacking Cuomo):

  • "Cuomoween 2"
  • "The Usual Suspects"
  • "The Business Council endorsing Cuomo is like asking the Boston Strangle to massage your neck."
  • "Clean up Albany? Start with Cuomo."
  • "No Cojones"

Most flyer/posters of this kind have been positive in the past. More extensive flyers—such as one linking furloughed convict Willie Horton to Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988—have been negative in the other elections and had a visual or two, with lots of supporting text. But Paladino's designs are really posters, with little text. They are meant to be downloaded and displayed, or sent as email attachments. "The Usual Suspects" is a faux-film poster that shows Cuomo in a yellow zoot suit and accuses him of taking bribes; "Lying Again" illustrates Cuomo as the long-nosed Pinocchio; one "Clean up Albany? Start with Cuomo" has the Democrat soaping up in the shower, and another has him as "Super Mario, Junior," who "has been playing the Albany game for 30 years"; and "Will You Stand with Carl...." has (Albany Democratic) tanks aimed at "One Man."  

Backed by tea-party groups, Paladino declared that he was "mad as hell," and promised to “clean up Albany with a baseball bat.” High unemployment, a record budget deficit, and missed budget deadlines in the state legislature all could have worked in his favor. But his campaign was so inept, that he turned a possible victory into a crushing defeat by threatening a reporter, focusing on secondary issues, and showing up totally unprepared for the one debate. He kept saying that he would reduce spending and taxes, but did not present many details on how he would accomplish these things. In the end, the vast majority of voters felt—as Cuomo's ads stated—that Paladino was "unfit for the office."

 


Posted by Steven Seidman at 7:35AM   |  Add a comment
Vote Yes on Proposition 19 Poster


California voters next month could approve a proposition to permit anyone 21 years or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Right now, the polls show voters in favor of the proposition by six points. Proposition 19 would also allow local governments to regulate and tax the commercial production and sale of marijuana, but prohibit possession on school grounds and other public places, as well as smoking it in the presence of minors or providing it to anyone under 21 years old. Laws against the use of marijuana while driving would continue to be in force.

There are lots of posters for and against the initiative. Two of them are presented here. The use of the Sun in posters is common in political propaganda, with the goal to stimulate positive feelings about an issue or candidate. It is also present on a Web site put up by Prop 19 supporters: http://yeson19.com/. Here is a Web site in opposition: http://www.noonproposition19.com.

 

 


Posted by Steven Seidman at 2:10PM   |  Add a comment
Obama Campaign Web Ad, 2008


As far as I can tell, the Obama campaign was the first ever to sell t-shirts with the candidate's portrait on it. And there were a lot of different designs that featured his image, often sold independently.


Presidential campaign t-shirts have been around since 1960, when John F. Kennedy's image as a war hero was promoted by a t-shirt design with a PT-boat on it to celebrate the Democratic candidate's valor during World War II, when a Japanese destroyer sank his vessel. But Kennedy's portrait was not displayed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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